The Post

Good morning folks,

Let’s drop a round in the chamber and see what words hit the ground.

Exposure for Film-Addict 

One of the ways to guide your website into the upper echelons of premium exposure is to connect with the right people.  The right people can be actors and filmmakers or people with money.  This week my colleagues and I are going to dive into the fragile yet ambitious ground of putting yourself out there in front of the audience.   Contacting publicists (not agents, we aren’t offering the actors film roles) for interviews and seeking credibility.  There’s nothing more powerful in this marketing world than attaching a well-liked celebrity or athlete to your brand.   Do you think Robert Griffin III really likes Subway?  Probably not, but putting him on those commercials brings credibility to Subway and helps their bland tasting sandwiches tromp mom and pop sandwich shops.   Think a whole lot less money to work with and you have my site.

Exposing The St. Louis Blues

*The Blues pulled out a 4-3 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings tonight after I wrote this section and while the team stands at 7-6 and in decent standing, questions still exist for this team.   Celebrate the win tonight but maintain the concern over this team.

Is this team in a minor funk or are they being exposed a ¼ of the way into the schedule.  After 12 games, this team is 6-6(never mind soft NHL win-loss columns adding a lane called “Overtime or shootout losses”) after starting 6-1.  Trouble brewing in paradise?  Let’s take a look at this crime scene.

*Plenty of blame has been thrusted on the Blues goaltending.   In a way, this is valid and in other ways it’s not.   Let’s get something straight.  Brian Elliot isn’t a #1 goalie.   Take away his 2011-2012 lightning rod season where he played out of his skates and above his skill level and look more at his career statistics.  He becomes exposed after starting 3-4 games in a row.   Take into account Jaroslav Halak’s groin injury leaving Elliot exposed.  Both of these guys play well off each other and not so much without the opposing force.  Halak has struggled to live up to the big trade and contract he got here.  He is more of a 2/3 amount of games starter or even a part timer due to his fragile body and ineffectiveness.   Put together, these guys are great.   By themselves, they are ordinary.   The Blues have lacked a legit #1 goaltender since the days of Grant Fuhr.   Roman Turek makes me too angry.

*Furthermore, the Blues goalies didn’t face a ton of shots during the 6-1 start.   Halak has two shutouts where he only faced 12-15 shots.   Starting with the Blackhawks defeat and the last 5 games, the shots against have increased and no one has been there to rescue Elliot from danger.   Just a thought for you to chew on.

*The news that Halak is out for another week means there’s a good chance that Jake Allen, our Peoria prospect, will get a shot in goal.   You have to give Elliot a rest because marching him out there to give up more goals will do nothing for his confidence.  In some areas of life, confidence is more valuable than skill.

*The defensive front isn’t helping the cause.  Forwards failing to forecheck or defensemen getting beat to the puck and not clearing rebounds.  It’s a domino effect on the ice when one unit falters.   Elliot isn’t a big stop goalie so he can only handle so many odd man rushes before the levees breaks.  The defense forgot who Teemu Selanne was on Saturday night, letting the owner of 667 goals sneak behind the net, pop out on the other side and punch in a rebound that started the Duck takeover at Scottrade and really put this team in a hole.  Losing to Detroit, Nashville and LA is bad for business but failing to get two points from Anaheim was hurtful.

*TJ Oshie and David Perron continue to be two players who can be brilliant for a game and two and then disappear.  Streaky talent.

*Vladimir Tarasenko cooled down after a hot 5 games before scoring a power play goal tonight in Detroit.   He is a bursting at the seams talent and teams were smart to keep the puck away from him but he is a player I don’t worry about simply because of his intelligence with the puck in stride.

*Jake Allen got his cherry popped in Detroit tonight and while the kid let in some soft scores and seemed rattled(must have been the road start in Joe Louis), he did quite well.   He stopped 21 shots and didn’t blow up Elliot style.  Halak will miss a few more games and Allen will have to be ready because there’s no telling when Brian Elliot will shed that Marc Bulger fright.  The kid did well tonight after being thrown to the wolves.

This team won a game tonight and recovered a little dignity but still strikes me as a team that can get shut down, outlasted or look quite lost on a hockey rink at any given time.   This 48 game season will expose and tire out certain teams quick.   Who makes it to the finish line intact is anyone’s guess?  The fast start turned heads but this Blues team will have to be tenacious and consistent to get the better of this division.  Blues fans feet will touch the ground.

Cards Camp Opening Notes

Pitchers and catchers reported, along with several other position players on Tuesday.   The real issue will be signing Adam Wainwright to a long term deal before the season starts.   If the Cards don’t do so, they risk facing Albert Pujols stand off Part II.   I won’t put Waino with Alberto here but the idea of letting your staff ace dangle outside the market with plenty of teams needing a good arm is dangerous.   Waino is coming off a long season after Tommy John but gave this team a bargain for 6 years and deserves to get paid.   He must realize that the Cards don’t have Giants or Dodger money and can’t give him Matt Cain or Zach Greinke money.  It’s just not possible.  However, the Cards can’t lowball Adam and think they can survive without him in 2014.   Do you want to see Jaime Garcia be the ace of the rotation next year?   Excuse me but I declare hell no on several counts of logical based thought.  I know agents go for the highest dollar and players need to get paid market value but sometimes I wish it would come down to one man coming into a room and just saying this is what I have to make.   Matt Cain isn’t a better pitcher than Wainwright, nor is Zach.  When all three at their best, Waino is as good as anybody.   That doesn’t matter here though.   Market value and location do.   The Cardinals won’t and shouldn’t hand any pitcher a contract that extends over 5 years.  If I were the Cards, I’d him 4 years with a vesting option for a 5th at around 18 million per season.   He gets a raise from 12 million in 2013 to 18 in 2014.   If that isn’t enough money, and feelings need to be healed with dollars, then I am afraid Waino could be leaving.   Let’s hope this gets solved before camp breaks.

Baseball is back.  Amen!  On to other things.

Firing Round-

Joe Paterno can’t be saved by a positive report.  Let me make something clear.   Whether or not we will ever know the amount of information that he knew about Jerry Sandusky has no bearing on his legacy now.   Forget his 400 plus wins and mastery of college coaching or that legendary jog to the sidelines.   Joe Paterno will be branded by the biggest oversight in college football history.   Sports history.   Any time you think of him it will be associated with sexual molestation.  That’s the uncomfortable truth.

The Rams hired defensive backs coach Tim Walton to lead their defense.   I like the low key hire.   This is Jeff Fisher’s team and more importantly, it’s his defensive scheme.  Walton will cut his teeth with this gig and learn a lot.

A Good Day to Die Hard works so well because of the relentless action, a key car chase and fast pacing but mostly due to Bruce Willis not taking the role of John McClane too serious.   He always seems to be winking at the audience while he does miraculous things.   This movie is a good time and then some.

In this week’s On A Role, I explain the brilliance and underrated career of Willis.  Check it out on my site.

It’s too bad Chuck Norris couldn’t lend Chris Carpenter a rib bone to get him one more season of vintage bulldog domination.   Listening to Carpenter talk openly about his future this week at Busch was another reminder that they still make athletes tough as nails and honest as a sniper’s rifle.   David Backes didn’t mince words when describing the Blues struggles.   He said they sucked and needed to be better.  Tonight they were.  It’s not rocket science.  True leaders just do their thing effortlessly and others follow.   Carpenter and Backes went to the same school of old school toughness.   Raising a glass to Carp tonight.

Halak Injury+Tarasenko Cooldown=Blues losing streak? I’m a detective circling a crime scene so feel free to help.

Dear Academy. Argo fuck yourself for not nominating Affleck. I know he was too big of a threat to Spielberg but still..you’re pretty stupid.  Yes I will continue to say this.  The man didn’t just deserve a nomination but he deserved to win the award.   Affleck’s accomplishments need to be fucking celebrated.

Now that the baseball gods are meeting at the table, I need to start tuning back into the MLB network and get my daily dose of news and reports.  I don’t get all this wise old man knowledge through osmosis friends.   I need my local cat Greg Amsinger(Lindenwood) to fill me in.  If there is one guy that deserves a radio show and TV show, it’s this guy.  Very intelligent young baseball mind and a Cards fanatic.  He does weekly hits on 101.1 ESPN Fast Lane.

I am in need of a decent coffee mug for work and for that I am buying a Thermos mug that keeps coffee hot for nearly 8 hours.  How?  A double wall of stainless steel that is vaccum sealed every time you close it.  That’s how.  Exciting development.  Self Indulgent quip#1.

What can I say?  I really like new shoes.   Puma, Nike or Under Armour.   I will be purchasing a new pair this weekend.   For so long I went with one or two pairs and wore them out quick.  Now, I can split time between many sets and keep shoes fresh and in shape a longer period of time.  Self Indulgent Quip #2.

Stop with the comparison between movies and real life violence.   Take a look at mental health stability first and I know it’s harder to figure out and more depressing but telling me a guy walks out of Die Hard 5 and wants to kill innocent people doesn’t roll even in my mind.  Chew elsewhere politicians and stupid protesters.

Ryan Fucking Reaves can play hockey and isn’t just an enforcer.   Something to be proud of Blues fans.  Another home grown fighting talent who may be able to do more.  Personally, my favorite Blues player to watch.  I have a soft spot for asskickers on skates.   Once upon a time, I was one.

Banshee is still a great delight.  Justified is the best television at the moment and other shows are DVR’ed and watched days later.

What are you doing this weekend? I’m taking my wife out for our eight year wedding anniversary.  Still the best move I ever made.

That’s it.  Goodnight.  Thanks for reading.

Yours truly,

Dan L. Buffa

 

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In My Humble Opinion

A few words before the evening gets underway on this gloomy yet sunny Saturday in the southern end of St. Louis city.  I have been hanging with the kid all morning and day, and we are dealing with our own issues.  His poor ass is as red as a cherry and I am struggling to be able to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee.   There are times when you make coffee and get side tracked, which results in cold shitty not as mood boosting coffee.   I am on my third cup, a special five shot espresso shotgun gunpowder round of caffeinated ammo that should propel me into the later hours.   While I am riding that high, I thought I would share some humble Buffa opinion.   Here are some things that have been gathered over the course of the past few hours.

Blues facing deadly reality check early on

*The goaltending is becoming a liability quick.   Jaroslav Halak is hurt and Brian Elliot is being exposed.  Neither goalie can handle a #1 gig but they thrive off a shared schedule.   Elliot was able to maintain an unrealistic level of play last season but right now he looks overworked.  What was once a strength is now a weakness until The Blues get their tandem back.   It may be time to give Jake Allen a start after Elliot allows 11 goals in two games.  Just a thought.

*Their even strength play isn’t as strong as their power play.  What a change in such little time.    There is a lack of urgency at 5 on 5 that is killing these guys.

*Losing to Detroit and Nashville by a combined score of 11-2 is one thing.   Doing it at home is quite another.   The Blues need to understand this season doesn’t last 82 games.  This shortened schedule(inner conference games only) will make or break teams.  The Blues suffered a 12 point swing in the last three games against teams they are battling for a playoff spot.   This got ugly really quick.

*Attention everyone.  Vlady Tarasenko’s feet have finally touched down to earth’s surface.   The renegade Russian has cooled off and hasn’t recorded a goal in 3 straight games and looks a little tired.  This whole team looks slower to react and not as hungry as the first two weeks where they play relentless hockey and got off to a 6-1 start.

*The good thing is we know what this team can do when 100 percent.   We also know what they can do when they suffer a few injuries to key positions.  Look at their home games against Detroit and you see a potential mirror to their upcoming season.  A lopsided win and defeat that carry an equal bit of the sweet and bitter flavor.

Will this team break our hearts again or are they just in a slump?  Its one thing to lose 3 straight but it’s another to lose three straight games against divisional rivals by a margin of 15-5.   This was never supposed to be easy.  A 48 game sprint that will test a team’s resolve and endurance.   Who falters first and who recovers last?  The 2013 season will once again feature the classical Zig Zag Blues we have all come to know, love and fear.  They are still exciting, talented and capable.  They need to get hungry again.   They are lying on the canvas but there is no 10 count left.  We have 38 more games to go.  Many bandwagon fans will jump off now that the real Blues have shown up.  I’m not going anywhere.  This team can go all the way. They just need to realign themselves in this dogfight.  I may not know all there is to know about hockey, but I can tell the difference between good and ugly hockey.  In the Blues first 10 games, I’ve seen both.

Five Things about A Good Day To Die Hard that make it look worth seeing-

*This is the first original screenplay written FOR A Die Hard film.  The previous four entries were scripts that were adapted to fit the hero’s latest tale.

*R rating.  The first three Die Hards were solid R and for a reason.   Violence, profanity and excess.   Live Free Or Die Hard wasn’t bad but it went soft with the PG-13 rating and withheld our hero from spitting out his famous line.   This time its R and packed with explosive action and testosterone dialogue that includes George Carlin’s favorite four letter word, Fuck.

*The film runs 96 minutes.  Crisp, potent and relentless.  We don’t expect a complex plot here.  Just set up the bad guys and some traps and throw McClane in the fray.

*The setting goes outside the USA for the first time.   McClane is fighting Russian terrorists on their own turf.  Moscow will be left in pieces by the time the credits roll.  It will be fun seeing a wild Yankee like our hero run around the dirty mobster town with Vodka flowing like spring water.

*Bruce Willis as John McClane.  Worth the price of admission alone.   His most iconic character always entertains no matter the setting, plot particulars, bad guy or sidekick.

Cards Talk

*The Cardinals have a lot of money coming off the books after 2013 so signing Adam Wainwright to a long term extension shouldn’t be an issue.   Here is the tally of cash leaving.

Chris Carpenter-12.5(gone, baby, gone)

Rafael Furcal-7 million(gone)

Carlos Beltran-12 million(may return)

Jake Westbrook-9 million(gone, or dead)

That’s near 40 million this team could be without in 2014.  If Oscar Taveras explodes in 2013, he takes Jon Jay’s spot or Beltran’s.  Shelby Miller(barring injury) takes Westbrook’s slot.  The Cards invest in a young shortstop or put a one year stop gap there.

*David Freese and the Cardinals were able to come to an agreement and avoid arbitration.  The Cardinals haven’t had a case go to a hearing in over 14 years and this wasn’t the place to end that streak.   David Freese played very well in 2012 and was a World Series hero in 2011.   He showed a willingness to stay healthy in 2012 that was previously unheard of when it came to the career of this city native.  The one year contract will pay Freese around 3 million, which is right between the 2.4 offered by the Cardinals and the 3.7 that Freese requested.   If he bangs out another solid season, it will be team for the Cardinals to hand him a multi-year deal.

Film-Addict Bits-A tease to get you to go to the site for the full reviews

*Bullet To The Head-No Brains But A Lot of Fun.  The phone call from director Walter Hill to Stallone was similar to the fliers Sly handed out for his Expendables films.  “Let’s go blow some shit up and get paid for it.”  The result was an entertaining simplistic action bender.

*Identity Thief-The Worst Movie I’ve seen in months, or since Cloud Atlas scrambled my brain for no apparent reason.  This movie robs your time!  Jason Bateman is wasted and Melissa McCarthy is annoying.  It’s not funny and kills its DVD chances with a softcore rotten finale.

*Side Effects-Easily the most impressive film I’ve seen in 2013.  While it’s worth the trip, Steven Soderbergh’s latest thriller is also a smooth riddle of a story and has a solid payoff while cementing Rooney Mara’s status as a legit leading actress and gives Jude Law a role to chew on.  The twist at the end isn’t a gimmick but instead a perfect capper to the mystery that comes before its reveal.

*Silver Linings Playbook-My Oscar hopeful is still in theaters and worth more than a couple visits because of its superb acting (rooting for all the nominated souls), flawless direction and edgy take on a well-known genre.  A gritty romance and truly award worthy film that’s hilarious at one moment and heartbreaking in the next scene.  This film could sweep the major categories and I’d be happy.

Random Bits-

*Florence and The Machine’s covers of “Addicted to Love” and Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” are killer.  The redheaded shedevil with the pipes and presence to back it up makes the song her own and outdoes the original’s execution.   She sings it without any extra feeling that can’t fit into the chambers of her powerful voice.  Check it out.  It’s only 7 minutes.  It will be justified.  You can do it while reading the rest of this blog, which may indeed take 7 minutes.

*Steven Soderbergh isn’t retiring folks.   Actors, filmmakers, musicians, and general performers never retire.  You can always take a job, work a little, and produce something when you are in the creative field.  I am tired of people talking about his departure from film, and if it held any weight, I would join the discussion.  Soderbergh jumps genres, challenges himself constantly as a filmmaker and storyteller and having that deleted from the movie world would be a blow.   However, he isn’t retiring.  It’s not possible.  He can always call up his agent, a few actors, and jump on the train when a good script perks his interest.   This isn’t sports.  It’s life.  You can always work if you want in that field.  Judging by his last effort, Side Effects, I hope he doesn’t wait long before getting behind the camera again.

*Ben Affleck not being nominated for an Oscar for Best Director is still getting on my nerves.  Pardon me if I care to complain again about this injustice.  The man deserves to be awarded with the biggest movie prize possible for a filmmaker on February 25th and it won’t happen.  His three shot dose of film(Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo) deserves attention on a stage.  It’s a shame people in the Academy of Arts and Sciences can’t let go of someone’s past failures in order to appreciate what they are accomplishing in this day and age.  Spielberg, Bigelow, Russell and others did a great job with their films.  Russell is my next deserving filmmaker for his magical blend of love, madness and life in Silver Linings Playbook but to me Affleck’s retelling of the bravery of the USA and Canada in the Iran Revolution was superb.  The greatest thing about it is that his face was all over the movie and people finally got the idea that Ben is pretty fucking talented and may be more stepping ahead of his good buddy, Matt Damon.  Triple threat.   Fuck you Oscars.

*St. Louis weather is irritatingly inconsistent.   Up one day and down the next.  No real snow accumulation.   Boring in a sense.  I wish we had more action here in the weather department.

*Justifed, Banshee and Archer are the shows I look forward to the most these days.  The other ones I watch are either treading water, waiting too long to shock us or slowly yet surely starting to suck.

*There isn’t much a father can do about their kid having a diaper rash.  You change a diaper as quick as you can, shut out the screaming and try to keep him happy.  Vinny had a runny shit last night while sleeping and we didn’t get it right away, so he now has an ass that resembles a red apple.  The kid screams when I barely wipe his ass and even makes an attempt to throw punches at me.   I feel like swatting them away and screaming back, but the kid is in pain and can’t help it.  A father is helpless here.  You just tryt o get by without being a dick.   Kid don’t have it too easy.  They don’t know how to take care of themselves or what the hell is going on when things go bad.  One sympathizes.

Weird yet true things(Self-indulgence section)-

*A man never forgets an anal story.

*A wife likes to eat slowly at first and monitor how much the husband is eating the portion of a dish.  That way, she can yell at him for eating it all even though plenty is left.

*Coffee gives you a mood boost only if it’s good.  Bad coffee reminds you of the injustice and evil in the world.

*Nobody likes to do the dishes or laundry.   It’s a task built in ritual and execution but never in fun attained.  If someone likes doing laundry or dishes, please come and do mine as well.

*Boxing can be just as brutal, shocking and violent as mixed martial arts if one can have patience when watching it.  There’s something sinister yet honest about fighting in front of an audience using only your fists.

*Wrong expectations can ruin a movie going experience.

*The key to a good comedy is a good script that doesn’t go too soft or safe in the end.

*If everybody had a little more bacon, world peace wouldn’t so laughable.

*A good fitting t-shirt goes a long way.   There something about throwing it on and knowing how it is going to make you feel for the next 12-16 hours that is instantly comforting.  It doesn’t matter how it looks or feels on someone else.

*There’s no football until August but spring training games start in two weeks and hockey is in full swing.  Rest easy America.

That’s it.  Thanks for stopping by.  Take luck if you care for it and are good with taking it.

Sincerely,

D. Buffa

More Cowbell Please(Carpenter talk)

I am here to talk everything having to do with the Carpocalypse or the end of Chris Carpenter’s career with the Cardinals.    I broke it down yesterday, but one is never done until the head is completely clear.   Late last night, I felt a stinging pain in my mind.    I wouldn’t get to watch Carp pitch again for the Cardinals.   That’s like your favorite rock band breaking apart.  Your favorite artist leaving the spotlight never to return again for an encore.   Carpenter was an artist.  He destroyed hitters with arrogance and intensity to go with a devastating array of pitching talent build on sheer will and tons of confidence.  He was fucking lion out there.   His performance in Game 5 against Philly was epic, but so was the rest of his 2011 postseason and month of September.  He recorded 4 shutouts in the final month and a half of the season and postseason.  When the Cards made their comeback, they needed their ace to act like a true act and Carpenter was that guy.  He pitched unreal for an extended stretch of play.  I’ll never forget his swan song in 2011.  He was otherworldly good.  He shut out Milwaukee and Cincinnati and Houston to clinch a playoff spot.  He dueled with his best friend Roy Halladay in Game 5 and prevailed in the tightest of contests, 1-0.   After the final out, a grounder that collapsed Ryan Howard’s Achilles and body, Carpenter pumped his fist and screamed like a banshee loud enough that the arch recorded a vibration.   That was Carp.  Intensity personified.  The man lived and breathed pitching but didn’t act like a dick off the field.  He participated in charities, gave quirky interviews, talked like a hockey player and turned into one on the field.   He is the reason officials don’t let pitchers carry a baseball bat to the mound.  He won 10 postseason games.  He only won 146 games in his career but he achieved a level of dominance more than a few Hall of Famers can’t claim to own.   His HOF credentials are solid only to a certain set of eyes.  He won a pair of World Series, and led his team into three of them.   He may own 3 rings if he didn’t tear his triceps before the 2004 World Series with Boston.   If he starts Game 1 instead of Woody Williams, you just never know.  The Steroid Red Sox may not have won the series if Carp had been around.   He was a difference maker.  He won a Cy Young and could have won another.   He broke in with the Toronto Blue Jays and was slammed with shoulder injuries.  He was shipped to St. Louis in a dump and trade swap with no guarantee.  In 2004, He was a dominating ace.   In an interleague game, Carpenter went back and shut out the Blue Jays on one hit, avenging their failure to give him time to blossom in Canada.   Their loss was a Cards fan ultimate gain.   Carpenter’s only demon was his own body, one that caused him to miss entire seasons.    For most ballplayers, they shake their shoulders and sit on the bench.  Every game Carp missed, a small part of him broke off.   At least that’s what I thought.  They don’t make them like this guy anymore.  If you are tired of me talking about Carpenter, then leave this page or go read another digestible column about Kobe and Dwight.  This is a Cards fan spot.

The Cardinals are losing more than a player.  They are losing a symbol of toughness and confidence.  Some stories don’t end happy.  I was hoping to get one more vintage Carp season.   16-17 wins, 215 innings, 185 strikeouts, 3 shutouts and a postseason appearance.   He will be missed because of what he brought to the table.   Players retire every year.   Carpenter is different.   In the grand scheme of things, his career can be trumped by others.   Take what he meant to this team for 8 seasons and you have a special player.  Word has it that when he called John Mozelaik and Mike Matheny last week, he teared up when telling them those simple words.   I can’t pitch.   I don’t doubt it because of how competitive he was.   He is the rare ballplayer that needs to play in order to feel right.   Without him, this rotation looks questionable.   Durable and carrying depth but just not as good.

Instead of Wainwright and Carp, you have Waino and Westbrook as your two veterans.   After those guys, you get a bag of arms including Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller.   Who makes the starting day 5 is a prediction I can’t make now that Carpenter is out of the equation.   That’s the effect of a true ace.   We have found out before that he would miss a lot of time.   We have never heard so bluntly and honestly that he is OUT until now.   A quiet winter with the Cards has gotten loud all of a sudden.  Who steps in for Carp?  If there is a silver lining in all of this, it’s that a crew of young arms will be thrown to the wolves.   We will see what Miller and Rosenthal can offer.   Joe Kelly will push for a spot.  These guys haven’t accumulated a lot of starts or wins but they are intriguing.  They aren’t guarantees but they offer promise.   With Carpenter, things would have been too easy.  Now the Cards are in for a fight in the NL Central.  An even deadlier one.  The Reds are stacked and won’t back down.  The Cards have questions marks and tons of talent.   A healthy Cards team just doesn’t make sense.

On The Lohse front.  Keep this in mind.   There is still time before spring training games start and the season begins.   Scott Boras won’t let Lohse sign a one year deal.   The Cards can only hand him a one year offer if needed.  If they pay him 2-3 years, you can kiss a Waino extension goodbye.  If Lohse gets 15-16 million for 3 years, what will Waino want for 4-6?  Just saying.   The Cards don’t need to go searching down the Kyle Lohse path yet.

I will end it with this.   Carp was probably the best pitcher I have ever seen.   He was everything you wanted in a pitcher, starter, and ace.   He was the captain of the not fucking around crew.   His work will be missed.   2013 just got a little less fun.

Goodnight,

D.L.B.

Chris Carpenter Obituary and Cards Future

Short and sweet, like the tall striking intimidating #29 always provided in his postgame “grunts”, allow me to fire up a look at the effect of today’s news on the Cardinals.  In a nutshell, the season has unofficially begun and has its first casualty.  Chris Carpenter.

Chris Carpenter won’t pitch in 2013 because of lingering pain in his shoulder and neck from the nerve injury in 2012.  He tried to throw and simply couldn’t.   This wasn’t mind blowing news.   Carp is a warrior and the most competitive bastard in baseball but his upper body is held together by super glue, spare parts, rib scraps and duct tape.  He was bound to fall permanently. It’s a shame but a predictable occurrence.  I would have loved one more season of vintage Carp but his body denied me and millions of others of one more thrill.   The Cards can handle this without handing Kyle Lohse 12 million.   Give Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller or Trevor Rosenthal an opportunity.   Save money by staying internal with the issue.  One can assume that Carpenter will do the gentlemanly thing and void out his final year of 12 million.   He has made enough money, especially while on injury leave.   I’m not being a dick by going all bank clerk here but the Cards can’t afford to be sentimental and throw that hail mary toss through rehab or good faith one more time.   In 2002, Mark McGwire handed back the final year of his contract due to his bad knees.   Carpenter was a soldier and is no thief.  If he isn’t going to pitch at his level or at all, help the team by handing it back.   That money can be put to use elsewhere, like finding real middle infield depth when Rafael Furcal pulls a muscle and Roger Cedeno’s bandaide comes off.  I will miss Carp and can only hope he becomes a coach and stays around the game.  He dominated the mound for a solid period of time, won 2 rings, and was a throwback to Gibson.  They don’t make them like that anymore so the young guys could use his knowledge, guys like Lance Lynn and Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller.  This is a sad day in Cardinal nation but the team can handle this and is equipped for it.  This team isn’t allowed an easy ride.  2013 will be no smooth walk.  Spring training is a week away but the Cardinals fever has officially begun.

Options For The Team-

*Call Kyle Lohse?  My initial reaction is no.  At this point, The Cards have to explore their vast depth of internal pitching support.   Names like Kelly, Miller and Rosenthal will come to mind instantly.  Lohse has either been duped by his overreaching agent or is the victim of a tender offer/draft pick compensation reward.   He is looking for work and would love to come back to Busch to get to it.  However, his asking price of 12-15 million dollars will be too much.   He has lost his pride but still retains a brain.  He will still want a 2-3 year deal or at least 15-16 on a one year deal.  It’s not worth it with our current count of young arms.  We are already paying Carpenter 12.5 million to contemplate his future, Jaime Garcia 7 million to wince and whine and Jake Westbrook 9 million to win 14-15 games tops.  Our rotation budget is maxed until Carp either voids his cash or something moves.   Such as Mr. Garcia coming up limp in camp and needing surgery on his shoulder.  Is Waino’s elbow intact and ready to fire up 200 more innings?  How is Westbrook’s oblique?  Lance Lynn’s head?  These are things to think about if and when they go into effect.  Right now, we don’t need Kyle and his weak boy name.

*Joe Kelly.  He pitched a lot better than his 2012 record indicates.  He recorded several quality starts and got little run support and improved as the season went on.   When Lynn caught his second wave of optimism, Kelly was assigned to the bullpen, where he cleaned up several of Lynn’s messes.  Kelly can pitch, has a decent arsenal of pitches and the head game to make it.  He can fill the spot and provide at least Westbrook results if not better.

*Shelby Miller.  The kid came up in September and pitched well, including shutting out a fully equipped Reds lineup on the last day of the season.   He fared as good as a wet backed rookie could in the postseason and comes into camp gunning for a role.  Right now, a role in the pen is hard to find for a righthander.  Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte and Trevor Rosenthal all return along with Kelly.  Miller will be a starter or someone is moving.  He deserves a chance to compete for Carp’s spot.  I am not declaring him ready to be a force in 2013, but he is ready to throw some ambition against the wall in Jupiter this spring.  He will be right there.  He is our #1 draft pick and future ace.  He can’t be passed up.

*Don’t forget about Trevor Rosenthal.   I would like his 102 mph cooker and deadly changeup to stay in a 6-7th inning role, but if push comes to shove and a heat lamp is needed in the rotation, take a look at Rosenthal.  I will take 5 innings and 90 pitches full of propane fireball fastballs and knee snapping changeups.   Rosenthal started in Memphis and is built for it.   He is a deadly weapon and must be utilized in the best possible way.  He is a versatile arm.

Lance Lynn will get a spot based on his 18 win offense inflated record in 2012.  I can sit with that.  We need to find out the answer to his fat husky riddle of a right arm and fragile mind.   Carpenter was working on him in his final days in the postseason and has faith in him.  That’s like Chuck Norris telling you this young soldier can hunt so I will give Lynn a spot.   Right now it’s rolling out like this.   Wainwright, Garcia, Westbrook, Lynn and ___.   Fill in the blank and get the engine heated.   Whether we are ready or not, the car on this 2013 season is firing up soon.  In one week, pitchers and catchers report.  If I am a young gun like Miller or Rosenthal, this will be the longest sleepless 168 hour stretch of my life.  The spring training session just got juicier today.

I will miss Carp.  I will be saying that all week.  His intensity and competitiveness on a mound was a rarity and hard to find elsewhere.    Carp wasn’t like Carlos Zambrano or another dumb hothead.  He was a controlled yet caged lion on the mound.   A bulldog mentality with a need to strike hitters the fuck out.  It was all or nothing to him.   Every start was D-Day.   You couldn’t convince him different.  I will never forget Hanley Rameriz looking like a little kid who stepped on Darth Vader’s boot a couple years ago when he got into hot water with Captain Carp.   Rameriz was with the Marlins and did something to piss Carpenter off after he reached base.   As Rameriz walked down the line, Carpenter shouted something profane and lethal towards the young player.   Hanley looked petrified.  Carpenter looked like he wanted to eat him raw and spit him out cold.  It was awesome.  That was Chris Carpenter.  He was cool and humble off the field.   A general on it.  He didn’t like other ballplayers during the game.   He wanted them to fail.  He was old school.  Old Testament Justice system.  I will never forget him ripping off his shirt after defeating the Phillies in the NLDS in 2011.  He screamed like a hungry baboon.   I will never forget him reaching for first base in game 1 against the Rangers in that same postseason.  I will never forget him looking lost after The Giants conquered him again last October.   He was blunt, honest and talented.  In my mind, he is a Hall of Famer.  2 rings, a Cy Young, serious time period of dominance.  He belongs in the Hall.  Right now, he needs to call it quits, at least for the time being and help the team out and serve the kids for a season.   There will be no Carpenter innings thrown in Jupiter or Busch this year.  I really hope there is some Chris Carpenter teaching this spring and season at the ballpark.   It’s where he belongs.

Have a good day and thanks for reading.

-DLB

Super Bowl Recap/Blues/Movies/And More

Good evening,
Allow me to spin a little banter about the weekend.  Extra bits from the previous blog and a little look back at very exciting, competitive and slightly controversial(not in my eyes) Super Bowl that capped off my birthday last night.   It's a new dawn, a new year and a new day for this mad writer from South City, so let's get to the goods.  The idea this time will be a list of things.  10 things about the Super Bowl.  5 things about the Blues.  3 things about the movies.   Something of that nature.  Stay tuned, and we are off.
Super Bowl bits-10 Things

The Joe Flacco exodus from average quarterback city is complete.  Last night, the dull looking and admittedly dull QB fired 287 yards and 3 touchdowns without an interception.  He was rightfully the MVP of the Super Bowl and owned the same distinction for the playoffs.  This guy turned my head and I must tip my cap.  He was David in a land of several Goliath's. The perfect postseason against the best of the best.   He outgunned Andrew Luck, the hot rookie.   He outplayed Peyton Manning, the comeback player of the year.  He upset Tom Brady in his own yard.  He took down Colin Kaepernick, the new kid on the block in last night's close and heavily contested matchup.  Flacco can rest easy now.  This is the same situation as Eli Manning discovered in 2007.  He beat Brett Favre in Lambeau in his comeback season and struck a huge hole in the Brady Machine in the biggest upset of the last ten years, or since Adam Vinateri pierced the Rams hearts with that kick in The Superdome, which was the stage last night.  Every minute of his series' last night, I was waiting for the Flacco hiccup.  The interception.  Deer in the headlights mistake.  Fumble.  Drop.  Wince.  It never happened.  He owned the moment and took what the 49ers depleted defense gave him.  He, like I said, can rest easy.  He must have been happy the Steelers didn't make the playoffs.  

Ray Lewis wins and can now go away. Thank you. I have had enough of his drama, crying, emotional speeches, and overall mystique.  Go home Ray with your two Super Bowls, tattoos, Deer Antler spray, bloody past and newfound faith and future.  He is a great player and sure fire HOF member but he took over the week in an annoying Brett Favre manner and its time for it to be over.  Now that he has won, he can retire with honor and get on the analyst desk and scare the shit out of Terry, Howie and Jay Glazer with a pre-Fox loud speech.   "Put your fucking game face on BRADSHAW".  It will happen.  Ray Lewis is crazy, inspirational, talented, tainted, dirty, faith capped, and a storm of power.   He is anything you want him to be.  Now he is gone. 

Kaepernick played with shackles on his ankles for two quarters of football. The 49ers restricted him and finally let him go. Once that happened SF nearly erases the biggest deficit in Super Bowl history. Why restrict a guy who has taken you to the doorstep of the promised land. Colin wasn't perfect but he was deadly and will be deadly for years to come. He learned painful yet valuable lessons.  He decided to throw at the 5 yard line in the third quarter instead of running the ball in and made other gun shy mistakes.  He opened up the scoring for his team with his versatile array of skills but also was held in check by his own coaches and a furiously resilient Ravens front seven.  This kid CAN PLAY.  Rams fans won't soon forget this guy's name.  He will be a freak of nature for a long time.   Go ahead and pack Alex Smith's bags for either KC or Arizona.

John and Jim Harbaugh battled like brothers and let it all hang out. Jim lost his mind in the end. Anybody who labels that whining doesn't understand a sibling rivalry. I grew up with a big brother and ALWAYS wanted to win. It's in your DNA. You love him but also want to put a pillow over his face in every sport. Those two coaches may not seem like class acts but they are great coaches. 

My take on "the play". The controversial 4th down play with Crabtree wasn't a bad call. Why? While he was held by the corner, Crabtree pushed off the defender's helmet himself thus committing his own foul. They cancel each other out and the pass was incomplete so that is that.  Enough.   This is where tough fans go to town.   ONE PLAY that signifies the entire four quarters of football.   The same people who are Blues fans telling me the only reason the Blues lost to Detroit on Thursday was because David Backes was given a major penalty and the Red Wings got away with it.   While true in some partial way, it never completes the picture for me.   The 49ers were slightly outplayed by a fierce Baltimore team.   SF started late, nearly made a comeback but Joe Flacco didn't make a mistake and the Ravens defense made a big stop at the end.   That leads me to my next point.

Credit the Ravens D with that goal line stop. After San Francisco sprinted down the field the balty defense laid concrete on the goal line and held them out. Even if Crabtree isn't held there's no way he catches Kaepernick's desperation heave to the corner. 

All in all a pretty good game. With no real horse and only a side picked(hint my team lost) I enjoyed the action on my birthday. 
Non Football Recap-
*Beyonce sucked.  Look, I am not a fan(AT ALL) and found her halftime performance to be mildly entertaining but nauseating at the same time.   Women are half naked so my attention is there but the music and dancing do nothing for me.  I just don't get into this shit.   I am not saying the woman isn't talented.  She clearly is and has a monstrous fan base.  However, like Madonna and The Black Eyed Peas, their music doesn't connect with me and I could think of at least 3 other rousing options for a halftime that don't begin and end with one woman dancing in a similar manner and lip syncing her tunes.  Boring show.  The power could have went out there.
*Yes the power went out in the second half.   Big deal.  I found the sideline reporters to be hilarious in their breakdown of what happened.   Let's go down to Solomon on the sidelines.  What do you got buddy?  "Well, it appears the power is out over there."  Thanks!  Got it.  The power went out and Brady and Belicheck were cleared of all charges.  The game went on.  No big deal.  Roger apologized for the 4,698th time this season and the action continued.
*The commercials were alright.  The Paul Harvey farmer spot was powerful, direct and blunt.   I am not a GOD person or farmer, but I got the message and approve.  It was the sequel to Clint Eastwood's well timed spot last year.  The Car spot commercial with the baby wolf was good, as was the Rock Milk spot.  The Oreo commercial was decent, but the Bud Light Stevie Wonder voodoo takes were absolutely horrible and not funny.  NO commercials made me laugh out loud.  Seriously.  It's been a long time since a commercial made me fall out of my chair.  I was disappointed the direct TV couple(the most convincing TV commercial couple of all time by the way) weren't included.  The guy from Minnesota with the Marley accent was funny but faded quick.  The Budweiser spots were alright while the horse one predictably went for the tissues.  All in all, the movie spots(especially the Fast and Furious Six and Star Trek previews) were my favorite, and that is no surprise.  
5 Things About the Blues-
*I can't say I am a fan of these gaps between the games.  After 8 games in 12 days, I want this pace to keep up.   Instead, we have had two lapses of 2 days between games.  This is a useless charge from a devoted hockey fan who loved the adrenaline of back to back games during the week.   This kind of slow down to the mad pacing is expected but I would be lying if I said this team didn't deserve National attention.   They are very good.
*Our only two losses have come on the second night of back to back nights on the road against the Hawks and Wings.   That's acceptable.  
*Our defense is stout but gives up quick 2 goal bursts far too often.  Our penalty kill isn't as strong as last year.   David Backes, Roman Polak and Vladimir Sobotka still flatten people on the ice.  
*Tarasenko was easily the player of the week.   The kid has 5 goals and nine points.  He is throwing every defense off their game and making great goalies look very ordinary.  Aren't you glad he is ours for a long time.  Something to remember. 
*Jaroslav Halak going down is as predictable as Steven Jackson going down.  It's bound to happen.  At some point, these guys pull a muscle.   This time, Halak pulled his groin.  Elliot will take over and Jake Allen will get called up.   This is where the Blues depth comes into play.  It's our biggest strength in this shortened campaign.
My One Thought on the Arbitration Decision with STL and the Rams-
*I like the Rams winning this one.   It means football will be improved and staying in St. Louis.   If the city wins, they get the leverage and may vote to not make any changes to the dome or build a new stadium, which puts the future state of this team in severe flux.  This way, the lease can go into a year to year status after 2014, but changes will be made to the dome or a new stadium will be built.  Two locations are the Bottle District or the old Chrysler Plant.  The idea of an outdoor football stadium is something to get excited for and with the renewed interest in this team and their improved state, I will pay my tax dollars towards it.  I like the way this team is moving and that plays into my decision and several other fans.   If the team is worth the dollars, then something will get done.  Two years ago, this would have been a different situation.  With Fisher, Bradford, Lauranitis and others in the fold and our record and play improving, the Rams winning the arbitration agreement is a good thing and means the state of football will improve one way or another.   I am no businessman and don't dare offer you the knowledge of the inner workings of this deal but the end game is, the city has to put up or shut up.   Kroneke wants to keep the team here.  Roger Goodell wants the Rams to stay.   If LA gets a team, it won't be the Rams, who have already set up shop and departed the west coast.  If LA gets a team, it will be an expansion team.   The team isn't going to London.  There's no guarantee the NFL can make that work or the money would be as good.   The Rams are staying put in STL and the decision on Thursday only strengthened that ideal.  
5 Thoughts on The Movies-
*Bullet To The Head bombed at the box office, gaining 4.5 million.   Stallone's latest couldn't muster shit and may need a hit with The Tomb(co-starring Arnold) to regain his mojo before Expendables 3 is greenlit.  I liked the film, but can't say I am surprised by the numbers.  The film was a B action movie blood fest with no real good guys and a bunch of mindless action.  I dug it.  Few others did.  
*Win Win is a very underrated film and deserves a watch on cable.   Paul Giamatti and Bobby Canavale are very good in this wrestling drama about a coach who finds a great talent and must come to terms with his own issues in life.  Tough potent little film.  
*End of Watch and Looper were added to my collection of film over my birthday weekend and they are certifiable golden movie goods.  Rent and watch if you want to see something original.   
*A Good Day To Die Hard is another John McClane story with Bruce Willis blowing shit up but this one is different.   It is the first script that was specifically written for Willis' character and not adapted, like the previous 4 films.   The first die hard was originally a Frank Sinatra detective story sequel.   The last three were scripts written for other stories that were given John McClane's protagonist and adapted.  This one will be good old fashioned action fun and it's set in Russia.  There is a contest on my site for STL moviegoers to win free passes.  Go there to the Daily Dose and get your chance.
*Film to look forward to.   A Place Beyond The Pines.  Bradley Cooper.  Ryan Gosling.  Eva Mendes.  Rose Byrne.  Ray Liotta.   A stunt biker takes heists to make money for his family yet runs into a cop and both their lives change forever.  Film spans 15 years and will be as power packed as it gets.  Fathers. Sons.  Choices.  Epic consequences. Count me in. Here is the trailer.
"If you ride like lightning...you're gonna crash like thunder."
http://youtu.be/G07pSbHLXgg
Final Words-
Don't be a Fake in life.  Please understand that.   If something in your life doesn't work, change it and don't look back.   Take care of yourself and just keep moving forward.   Sooner or later, you will make a choice and stick to it until the very end but first you need to get there.  Too many good people that I know stay locked to a situation and waste portions of their life.  It's not worth it.  The worst thing in life isn't a waste of talent.  There's nothing worse than faking it through life because it's easier.  Stand up.  Change things.  Get better.  
I am a happy man at 31.  I have a great wife and a wonderful young ambitious kid.  Every night I get with them or him I feel like the luckiest guy in town.   I am good.  You need to get there if you are lost.  Trust me.  Get busy living or get busy dying.  Just don't take all fucking day.
That's it.  Really.  I'm cooking bacon for the wife when she gets home.  We are making Texas toast grilled cheese sandwiches with havarti cheese and bacon strips.  Adding some salad and wine to it.  That's a night at the Buffa House.  
The Following and Banshee.  Bed.  Wake up.  Do it again.  
Goodnight,
D. Buffa

 

A Mission Statement From A Birthday Boy

Greetings,

Let’s get it out of the way.  Tomorrow I turn 31 years old.   There will be a party, a few friends, food, a football game to watch and fun to be had.  It’s nothing special.  Just another year in the chamber.  I’m still alive and kicking.  Walking and talking.   Making decisions, paying bills, working full time and building a passion project on the side.  I’m still a father and a husband first and foremost.  That is what I am.  Everything else I simply decide to do.   There are things that you are born to do and everything else just falls under the daily docket.  I love my life while I admit that it can improve but you won’t hear me complain.  I am healthy, out of danger, at home and full of opportunity.   The greatest thing in life is still and always will be free will and finding people who make you a better person.   That’s not just America’s call of duty, but the world’s.   We are free…until we let ourselves get chained up by possessions and problems.   My advice to you at 31 years is be your own person, seek freedom, have some fun but stay healthy.  Your body goes to shit and your scale in life gets tipped downward.  The Bullet Round begins now.  These things rarely get written in one sitdown.

Vinny Buffa Rant

The kid just woke up from his nap after only 100 minutes.  Usually, Saturdays are long nap days for Big V but today he wakes up early.  Ranting is on hold.  After two hours, cuddling, feeding, laundry and checking him for stinks and snots, Vinny is playing around the house and acting like a tazmanian drama queen.  Full of energy, spiked with ambition yet feeling the need to cry and bitch about when a toy doesn’t do what he wants or it doesn’t respond to a demand.   My man is 16 months old and only beginning to discover the cruelest joke in this world.   Nothing happens on a simple command.   While he plays I will get back to the leading part of this latest blog.

Super Bowl Thoughts

The Super Bowl will be a grindhouse bloody bare knuckle battle.  Two teams known for their bone crunching defenses and fierce running games will match wits tomorrow night.  I don’t carry a horse in this race but will watch with the excitement of a guy seeking a close battle worth a set of eyes.   Taking place in the city of comfort in New Orleans and inside the haunted heroic Super Dome, it is a fitting return for the palace that featured the end of the Greatest Show on Turf.    When Warner, Faulk and the Rams ran into a buzzsaw called Bill Belicheck, Tom Brady and The New England Patriots in 2002, nightmares came to life and a great wonderful enterprise ended.   Suspicion haunted one team while a doormat existence settled into the other while the Superdome itself was a cathedral of refuge for victims of Hurricane Katrina.  Tomorrow night, two teams coached by brothers will take over the field and blood will line the streets.   The Ravens are led by Ray Lewis, king of changing identities and massive controversy lined up with intensity and a marked past.   This is Lewis’ last stand and he won’t go down easy, deer antler spray or not.  Joe Flacco has quietly put together a career of taking down beloved quarterbacks.   This past month he has ended Andrew Luck’s rookie storm, Peyton Manning’s comeback and Tom Brady’s quest for salvation.   Flacco has been nearly perfect and will take on his toughest defensive test to finish the job.  If he wins a Super Bowl, he won’t receive as much credit as others on his team like Lewis or Ed Reed but football fans will take notice and release Flacco from the shackles of bland only good quarterbacks.  Win a ring and you get respect.   The 49ers will feature an array of veteran and young talent.   Defensive beasts(both from Mizzou) Aldon Smith and Justin Smith, who will chase Flacco all over the field.   Quarterback rookie sensation Colin Kaepernick, who stretches any defense with his ability to plant and throw, tuck and sprint, or pass on the move.   Kaepernick is my secret weapon in this game and the main reason I think the 49ers will pull this out in a close battle.  Frank Gore and Ray Rice will smash heads together and try to force the opposing defensive coordinators to readjust their schemes.  Coaches Jim and John Harbaugh will pull every trick they can out of their book of intense tactics in order to take the other down.  There are tons of story lines going on this weekend.   The Harbaugh’s is the main one and I respect these two guys.  While others label them whiny or too intense, I happen to think of them as two solid leaders who love to stand up for their players.   They are close with their dad and help save his small college football program years ago and that earns my respect as well.  It’s amazing the way people will toss labels on everything.   These are the two teams nobody thought would make it to the Super Bowl but let me correct the annoying coach honors.  That award goes to Belicheck, Pete Carroll and Rex Ryan.   The Harbaugh’s are good old fashioned football minds.   They are the spotlight this weekend.   I am excited to watch Colin take on the Ravens defense and find the holes.   I want to see who dominates the ground game.   Which defensive line will break through?   If it is San Francisco, then its big trouble for a pocket passer like Flacco and a huge task for a lineman like Michael Oher to protect him.   In my mind, the unbreakable skill set here is the guy who do it all on a field and surprise people at will and that is Colin Kaepernick.   He will throw and run all over the Ravens but this game will be decided by a leg and not an arm.   This is where my pick becomes risky.  David Akers had the worst season of his career as a kicker on the Bay.   Neither leg in this game is direct money so this may be the most compelling story of all.  Which kicker chokes and which one thrives on the big stage?  Akers or young Ravens kicker Justin Tucker?

My Pick-49ers 27, Ravens 24

Commercials are always a secondary delight.   No football turns on the game just for the commercials.  That time slot is dictated for beer and food filling station trips.  However, I will be looking out for the fresh movie trailer spots and a few honestly hilarious spots like The Rock’s “Got Milk” ad.  They don’t hurt if they are funny.  It’s always interesting to see what Budweiser comes up with.  Just like the game itself, these are the championship rounds for television advertisers.

A Look At The Cards-A Few Things Before Camp

Camp opens in 10 days, so let’s run down a small list of questions, demands and investigations…

*Why isn’t David Freese signed yet?  Get it done.  The ball is in the Cards court on this one.   They don’t want to hand a third basemen who cranked out 20 home runs, drove in 79 and hit .293 while playing a decent third base slot.   3.75 million isn’t that expensive WHEN compared to what other third basemen are making this year?   There’s a guy named A-Rod making 30 million who struggled to produce what Freese did.   David is clutch, local and proved his health and worth in 2012.  Get it down Cards.

*I have no faith in Jaime Garcia’s left shoulder.   A ligament and area that has caused the fragile Mexican to miss significant amounts of playing time gets no encouragement here.   He broke down in the middle of the 2012 season and missed 2 months.  He came back in September only to break down in the middle of a playoff round.  How many more wait and see rehabs will this team go through before they order a knife job on the shoulder?  He makes 7 million dollars in 2013 to make in my estimation 18 starts.   He will break down again and require surgery.  This is simple anatomy and physiology class here.  That shoulder is bound to tear and need repair.

*Why did we sign Jake Westbrook to a 9 million dollar deal again?  He tore his oblique muscle in September, missed the playoffs but we wanted to bring him back anyway.   This team is stocked with two rotations worth of pitching.  Why hand Westbrook 9 million when Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal sit at your disposal?  I have a feeling this is linked to the Garcia worry foundation.   Westbrook isn’t a bad pitcher but never makes you comfortable for too long when he is on the mound.   He puts runners on base, throws a ton of pitches and creates anxiety.  He has never won more than 15 games and didn’t need to come back when younger cheaper talent could put together than record.

*Why did we sign Marc Rzepcynzski to a 1.1 million dollar deal?  He sucked big time in 2012 and that came solely from his lack of confidence in his breaking ball.   He doesn’t have the heat to blow away a hitter so if he doesn’t execute his off speed pitches, he is doomed.   Are the Cards trying to assemble 10 million dollars or wasted cash in two players or just having fun because Pujols isn’t around?  Sam Freeman is young and talented and could improve with more innings.   He could team up with Randy Choate(our big offseason sign so far) and get it done.   Not to mention the fleet of arms crowding the pen with Kelly, Rosenthal, Miller, Mujica(signed), Boggs(signed) and Motte(signed).  Scrabble didn’t do enough to earn a return trip.

*Ty Wiggington, Roger Cedeno and Choate may prove to be understated wonders in 2012 but I am still waiting on Mozelaik to make a move sometime this month.   He has a lot of pitching and a weak bench.  I don’t think he is done yet.  This team doesn’t need a lot but still could use a bench bat unless Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras make the team earlier than expected.   Bench power was a big soft spot in 2012.  Wiggington and Cedeno don’t make it look much better.  And I threw Shane Robinson off a cliff so he is no longer available.

*People do forget how miraculous this team’s 2012 run was because they forget about the injury.   Without La Russa and Pujols plus a ton of key injuries, this team came within 1 win of the World Series before succumbing to the team of destiny.   Lance Berkman missed nearly the whole season.  Rafael Furcal missed 2 months.   Allen Craig and David Freese missed a month each.  Chris Carpenter missed the first 5 1/2 months.   Garcia missed 2 months.  Skip Schumacher missed 2 months.   Jon Jay missed nearly 2 months.  This team rarely fielded a full squad for three games in a row and nearly stole the show again.   Duly noted.

*I don’t think Lance Lynn owns the 5th spot in the rotation when camp breaks.    My feeling is Kelly or Miller will take it from him unless Mozelaik and Matheny hold up Lance Lynn’s run support inflated 18 win season in 2012 over the entire camp.   Lynn is a trade chip if you ask me.  Get something for him while he is valuable.  Shelby Miller is your longtime rotation answer.  Lance Lynn is a big band aide.  Just my thoughts.

*I expect Beltran, Holliday and Allen Craig to kill it this year.  Tons of power located in Busch Stadium this year and if our pitching keeps its legs beneath them, the Cardinals are a very dangerous team.

Blues Talk

They lost to the Red Wings last night in a bitter contest marked by inconsistent play and very bad referee calls but this team is still a pleasure to watch.   They erased a 2-0 deficit with two quick goals and took a brief 4-3 lead in the 3rd period against an angry Detroit team in Joe Louis Arena before allowing two strikes against their replacement stopper in Brian Elliot, who took net for an injured Jaroslav Halak.   The Blues are 6-2 on the season and those two defeats have come on the road in close battles.   That’s important to remember when assessing this team game by game.   How are they looking in the defensive and neutral zone?  How is their special teams work?  Do they play 60 minutes?  Can they compete on back to back nights?  The answers are all yes so far.   This team doesn’t quit and won’t win them all but will cause enough fucking trouble to make teams remember who they barely escaped.   A different kind of Blues team is taking shape before us.    There are 40 games left and the pace will only rise and with it the real test of these players.  They are young and have never played this many games so close together.   Who has endurance?  Patrik Berglund may finally be filling out the borders of his potential.   He has 5 goals, as does Russian sensation Vlady Tarasenko.  This team will score a lot of goals.  Every night.  Defense and goaltender health will be their difference makers.  We are good so far.  Take away a now defunct David Backes major penalty and the outcome may have changed last night.  That is how close these losses are and that is a positive development.

Rams and Rob Ryan Divorce before their Honeymoon Concludes

He wasn’t a real good find to begin with and was only a name based on his volume on the sidelines and his brothers.   Rob Ryan isn’t a bad defensive coordinator but was he worth his potential ship shaking trouble?  His best defense finished 19th and he ran a different scheme than the Rams 4-3 alignment.  Jeff Fisher got a call from Ryan on Monday and the two decided it wasn’t a good match.    The best thing about Ryan was his willingness to be honest.   The search will continue.

Bullet To The Head is a solid action 1980’s throwback and Sly Stallone proves that 96 minutes of brainless action still does the body good.   The film will tank and only gross around 6 million but I liked it.   It executed the promise of its trailer and that was it.  What Walter Hill and Stallone set out to do is what they accomplished and that was enough for me.  Far too many critics walk into films with higher expectations than required.  This was a guilty pleasure.  He has a long storied career and is smarter than many movie fans give him credit for.  He has two Oscar nominations, 25 screenplay credits, 8 directing credits and his scene at the end of First Blood is his Hall of Fame moment.   A long time ago, aka when I was born, First Blood was one of the first films to take a look at post traumatic stress when it dealt with John Rambo’s post Vietnam conditions.  He was great in that role and proved his acting chops at that very moment.   Find out more details by reading my full piece at the link below.

http://www.film-addict.com/news-and-reviews/on-a-role/item/1347-sylvester-stallone

Royce White Rant

Royce White is blaming his anxiety disorder for failing to play a game for the Houston Rockets.   The 2012 draft pick out of Iowa State was arguably the 5th best player in the draft but fell 20 spots because of his off court demands.   White has anxiety disorders, just like millions of people in this country, including my wife.   He is making 3.5 million dollars and trying to stage a crusade for mental health polices in the NBA to reform themselves.   If it sounds like bullshit and fragile souls, then you aren’t crazy like White.  Tons of people deal with his condition and clock in every day to work.   They just don’t make his millions while doing it.   He dominated Anthony Davis(#1 pick in same draft) in March Madness but can’t step on a court without a special doctor watching over his nerves.   Wow.  Hello 2013 drama.   White’s case is a slightly noble yet mostly futile mission.  He didn’t miss one game in college due to anxiety yet blankets his pro career with it.   Man’s a politician and he doesn’t even know it.   He will play sooner rather than later, at the exact moment the agent pulls the pacifier out of his mouth.

Papa Buffa Goes to Work

Since my dad only works weekends now, he is an asset to Film-Addict’s cause.  This past week, he watched an 11am screening at a local theater for me and left me a two minute voicemail that mainly consisted of him humping Al Pacino’s leg and recommending the film.   I wrote up a quick paragraph, registered him with the site and published it under his name.  This is versatility at its finest.  He watched it, I wrote it and he helped us out.   The funny part is me creating an email address for him since he doesn’t have one of his own and using that to create his Film-Addict ID, which is PapaBuffa54.   He grew up on movies like Stand Up Guys and introduced me to the fine arts of cinema, so I am putting him to work.

Banshee is my latest television crush.  A cinemax dark action drama with solid performances, blunt action and a good old fashioned anti-hero story anchored by the unknown Australian talent Antony Starr.   In it’s third episode, this series grabbed you by the throat.   Starr plays a long time con man who gets out of jail, goes back to his hometown, runs into trouble and ends up becoming the Sheriff of the town and butting heads with its corrupt suit, an Amish community gangster hiding his own past.   The show is relentless at times but has the ability to slow down and tell a wild tale of redemption and romance that contains brutal violence.  Alan Ball left True Blood to fire up this highly entertaining delight, so please take notice.

Listen to The National if you need a change of pace slow down folk rock cleanse.   These guys can really put together a song.

That is all I have tonight.   Thanks for reading.  Have a good night and week.  Catch me next time for more topical discussion.   It could be tomorrow or next Saturday.  I have no idea when I am going to set off.  I just know it will happen sooner rather than later.

If you have a message for me, send it to me here and avoid the bottle in the ocean trick.  It really doesn’t work.

Take luck,

Dan L. Buffa